A new study has revealed that the area of the brain that controls self reflection, the anterior prefrontal cortex, is larger in lucid dreamers than those who rarely or never have lucid dreams. This part of the brain is associated with conscious cognition, the so called “metacognition” and may indicate that lucid dreamers are also more self-reflective while awake.
According to the press release, “the researchers further want to know whether metacognitive skills can be trained. In a follow-up study, they intend to train volunteers in lucid dreaming to examine whether this improves the capability of self-reflection.”
I do not find these results at all surprising, and would hazard a guess that training in lucid dreaming will show improvements in self reflection… as training to lucid dream is essentially a process of becoming more aware. This awareness is of the world around you, but intrinsically of your place within it. To learn to lucid dream you must become aware when you are awake and when you are sleeping. This seems like a self-reinforcing loop to me.
Of greater interest to me would be to explore if a larger anterior prefrontal cortex facilitates lucid dreaming, or if it grows in response to the practice of applying lucid dreaming and associated techniques? What other skills and practices enhance the prefrontal cortex that may also improve the chance of having a lucid dream… particularly if these are methods not commonly associated with lucid dreaming? Who has a larger prefrontal cortex than the general population other than lucid dreamers… and what do these people have in common? Food for thought. If anyone knows of other relevant studies, please do share!
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Study condutced by: Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin and the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich
Filevich, E., Dresler, M., Brick, T.R., Kühn, S.
Metacognitive Mechanisms Underlying Lucid Dreaming.
The Journal of Neuroscience (2015) (DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3342-14.201
Image source: consciouslifenews.com